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India favours expansion of permanent seats in UNSC

India, which is seeking a permanent berth in the UN Security Council, has said that expansion of only non-permanent seats does not constitute reform of the world body and demanded that membership be increased in both categories.



United Nations: India, which is seeking a permanent berth in the UN Security Council, has said that expansion of only non-permanent seats does not constitute reform of the world body and demanded that membership be increased in both categories.

In a closed-door meeting at the UN headquarters convened to discuss the negotiating text for the Security Council reform, India also pointed out that a vast majority of countries were in favour of expanding the current size of the world body`s top organ from 15 to the mid-20s.

"There cannot be any reform without expansion in both the categories of membership," Hardeep Singh Puri, India`s envoy to the UN, said last night.

"Equally, expansion only in the non-permanent category or any of its other variants does not constitute reform and is merely the perpetuation of the current inefficiency by the
same ineffective means in vogue since 1963," he said.

India along with Japan, Germany, South Africa and Brazil is seeking permanent membership of the Security Council.

Puri`s remarks came a day after a top US official said India would play a "central part" in the Security Council reform process but stopped short of publicly endorsing the
country`s bid for a permanent seat.

"We`re open to expansion of permanent membership of the Council and we believe that India`s going to have a central part to play in the consideration that`s going to come of that reform of the UN Security Council," Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns said.

During the inaugural discussions on the UN reform, Zahir Tanin, Afghanistan`s permanent representative to the UN, in his capacity as the Chairperson of the process asked member states to submit proposals that can be worked into a negotiating text, which will be the basis for future discussions.

In 2009, member states of the UN had finally abandoned the `Open Ended Working Group` (OEWG) on the issue that had dragged on for 15 years without yielding any substantive results. In March last year, the old talks were replaced by the new "inter-governmental negotiations."

At the meeting in the UN headquarters, India also underlined the need for equitable geographical distribution.
"India supports a Charter-based distribution of seats that addresses the lack of representation of African, Latin American and Caribbean countries and the lack of adequate representation of Asian countries in the permanent membership," Puri said.

This year, India is also running for a non-permanent seat of the Council for which elections will be held in October.

Puri and his team have been canvassing for the spot for the past three years.

Earlier this year, Kazakhstan`s withdrew from the electoral race leaving India with a clean slate for 2010-11.
To win, India needs two-thirds of the General Assembly vote, which adds up to about 128 counties saying `yes` to New Delhi`s presence in the Security Council.

PTI

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